Month: October 2016

AmeriCorps Member of the Month November 2016 ~ Kristina Kofoot

Kristina – “I am excited and honored to be recognized as an AmeriCorps member of the month. AmeriCorps has allowed me to gain valuable experience while giving back to the community that I live in. In my work at the University of Northern Iowa, I am able to help students become involved and engaged across Cedar Valley while working to strengthen and enhance community engagement efforts across campus. I look forward to continuing this work throughout my second year of service and beyond.”

Thank you Katie Zellmer, of Iowa Campus Compact for Nominating Katie.  Katie has this to say about Kristina:

“The partnership between UNI and the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley (VCCV) provides a foundation of programming that supports agencies whose mission addresses issues of poverty in  Cedar Valley. The partnership between UNI and the VCCV provides programming for UNI students to be engaged in Cedar Valley, often addressing issues of poverty. The VISTA member will expand UNI’s capacity to support agencies in their work to eliminate poverty and food insecure families in Cedar Valley, and support campus programs to catalyze effective collaboration to benefit it.

Kristina has really been working to address a variety of issues that all lead back to the partnership between Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley and UNI. Through her work Kristina is beginning to lay the foundations of community engagement throughout the university. She has been working with faculty and help to bring a service-learning institute to campus to help faculty create community engaged classes. Kristina has also been working with the residence hall departments to require service components to live on campus. She has created panels and hosted members from NCCC, VISTA, State and National, ICAP (panel participants) on national service to generate interest in a year of service which allowed UNI students to ask questions and learn about AmeriCorps programs. She has also been key to developing days of service on campus to reach a wide variety of students across campus. Her efforts have allowed her to manage over 800 separate volunteers at her events. For her MLK Day event her program packaged over 25,000 bags of food, which were donated to local food banks in the Cedar Valley area.

Kristina will be going into her second year of service with the University of Iowa under Julianne Gassman. During her first year she finished up her master’s degree at UNI and plans to use that degree to pursue a position in higher education focusing on community engagement.”

Volunteer Iowa is excited to recognize the work Kristina has been able to accomplish during her year of service. To recognize her service, Kristina will receive a certificate signed by Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds honoring her dedication and efforts towards bettering the lives of youth in the State of Iowa.

 americorps_iowa_4inHelp us tell the story of AmeriCorps in Iowa! You can nominate someone for AmeriCorps Member of the Month by filling out this short survey:http://ow.ly/X1uRp. Please share the link and help us recognize the AmeriCorps members who are getting things done for Iowa!

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October 2016 AmeriCorps Member of the Month ~ Stephanie Alanis

picture-of-stephanie-alanis-10-2016

“AmeriCorps is a great opportunity that has helped me get involved with my community. AmeriCorps has helped me get out of my comfort zone for the better, as well as given me the chance to meet wonderful people along the way.”     Stephanie Alanis

Buena Vista County has approximately 50% of its youth fall into the category of “at risk” because of their economic means or because of their cultural membership. Stephanie leads our Clover Kids initiative, the K-3rd grade 4-H program, through Iowa State University Extension & Outreach – Buena Vista County. She has led 4 – 6 hours sessions of Clover Kids in 3 different locations of Buena Vista County.  Through Clover Kids, Stephanie has been able to reach approximately 100 K-3rd graders with hands on STEM activities. She is employing the Pint Science curriculum through the Science Center of Iowa. Youth have had significant increases in their interest in Math and Science as a result of their participation in Clover Kids.

Stephanie has led a couple of different service initiatives in her 3 months of service. First, she has partnered with Key Club at Storm Lake High School to find volunteers to help with the delivery of Clover Kids at Storm Lake Elementary School. She has also been organizing a service project with TLC, our local canine shelter, that will offer a series of service opportunities with the kick off being Global Youth Service Day.

Beyond Stephanie’s AmeriCorps duties, she has been involved with many volunteer opportunities. In a formal setting, Stephanie volunteered with Key Club for elementary after-school programs and early dismissal educational events. She also is a very observant community member who contributes where needed. A couple of recent examples include Stephanie’s efforts to raise funds for the funeral expenses of a 4 year old child lost to a freak virus. She also noticed that the volunteer fire department had been spending a significant amount of time in training and delivered cookies to support their efforts.

Stephanie has a desire to continue her education and pursue a career in early childhood education. She has had experience in a classroom setting and has enjoyed the opportunity to explore informal education through 4-H. She is currently enrolled at Iowa Central Community College in Storm Lake and upon graduation, plans to complete her degree at Iowa State University. Stephanie is an active community contributor and will continue to serve her community in formal and informal ways when she sees a need she can fill. Youth, animals, and public service employees are all areas she is committed to serving.

Volunteer Iowa is excited to recognize the work Stephanie has been able to accomplish during her year of service. To recognize her service, Stephanie will receive a certificate signed by Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds honoring her dedication and efforts towards bettering the lives of youth in the State of Iowa.

 americorps_iowa_4inHelp us tell the story of AmeriCorps in Iowa! You can nominate someone for AmeriCorps Member of the Month by filling out this short survey:http://ow.ly/X1uRp. Please share the link and help us recognize the AmeriCorps members who are getting things done for Iowa!